The Australian Shepherd is often noted for it’s medium lenght wavy coat that has a thick undercoat and comes in a range of colours. Australian Shepherds or “Aussies” cab be blue merle, red merle, solid black and solid red, and variations with white and a copper trim. The dogs are medium sized with adult males growing up to 57.5 cm tall and females up to 45 to 52.5 cm. The Aussie’s eyes can be quite striking and a dog of this breed could have blue eyes, or one blue and one brown eye, or marbled eyes in the red merle and blue merle varieties.
What is merle? A Merle is distinguished by the presence of irregular dark blotches against a lighter background of the same general basic pigment. Merle is usually applied to long coated breeds.The most common type of merle is blue merle – black patches or streaks on a blue-grey background.
Aussies are known to have excellent temperaments which make them popular as a family pet, or an obedience or agility dog; however, they make up a very large percentage of the working dog population. The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent breed and thrive on mental stimulation.
They are very active dogs and require plenty of exercise.These attributed, along with the fact that they respond very well to training, make agility circuits a great activity for them, but it is important to start training early.
Want to make your own agility training course? Check out our DIY Agility Training Course instructions.
There is a bit of debate as to the origin of the Australian Shepherd. There have been claims that the Aussies was bred from working dogs brought to Australia by Basque Shepherds in the late 1800s or, alternatively, bred from German Coolies in Australia and then brought to America to be used as working dogs. In actuality, there is no evidence to support the suggestion that the dogs originated in Australia. The breed was introduced to Australia in 1990 and was recognized as a breed in 1993.
SMILE! According to people who own or who have owned Australian Shepherds, this breed will actually smile and show all their teeth. Apparently Aussies are most likely to smile when they’ve been caught doing something mischievous.
Advice to Owners
Aussie pups can be destructive until they are about a year old. They are responsive to training but training and do not have a problem with house training. Aussies can live comfortably indoors or outdoors (assuming it isn’t too cold); however, they are great jumpers so a backyard fence will need to be at least 1.2 m high. Australian Shepherds should be exercised for at least 30 to 60 minutes a day.
White puppies are at a higher risk of having major problems (compared to Australian Shepherd puppies with a different coloured coat) and it is important to note that merle to merle matings are not recommended.
This Blog was written by the furry family at Petplan Australasia. Petplan Pet Insurance specialises in animal and animal industry insurance. Our practices keep the role that pet insurance plays in responsible pet ownership and the health of the pet at the forefront. For tips to keep your pet healthy, make sure you follow us on Facebook.